I have no control of the thermostat in my library. One toasty day, I took off my cardigan during a booktalk to High School students and said, “Talking about books gets me hot.” Oh, how they laughed. Luckily, I wasn’t with freshmen, who probably would’ve turned red!
From Tricia Svendsen, Bishop Feehan High School Teacher-Librarian:
Some twenty years ago, when I was the new librarian at an elementary school that did not previously have a certified teacher-librarian, I was teaching the parts of a book to my fourth graders. Pointing to each part, I asked them to identify them. Their lack of instruction in library skills was evident as they took guess after guess as I pointed to the spine: “border,” “edge,” “side.” I halted the guessing when one confident student blurted out “the sperm!”
I was the long-term sub librarian at Cohen Hillel Academy, Jewish day school, (now Epstein Hillel Academy), desperately hoping to be hired full time, when an unexpected snowstorm closed school early. I stepped up and volunteered to watch students in the library while they waited for pick up. We’re talking 30 kids, major snow storm, early school closing — and three days before HANUKKAH! I sat kids down (or tried to), grabbed a video, pushed “play” and watched as Beezus is totally miffed when Ramona is picked to be the Virgin Mary, Henry Huggins gets to be Joseph, while Beezus is stuck being a sheep in the Christmas pageant. OMG….What to do?
I was saved by the (telephone) bell — the office called, send kids upstairs. I hit “pause” wished everyone a Happy, Happy, HANUKKAH, and then sweated the next 48 hours waiting for phone calls. But nothing happened, and a month later, I did get the job, and spent 20 years at Cohen Hillel until my retirement 2014.
A few years after the incident, I did share that story with a group of teachers at coffee one afternoon. I asked how they would have handled it — did I overreact? But no one could stop laughing long enough to answer.
MORAL — Alway, ALWAYS preview.
I was the new librarian at Cohen Hillel Academy, back in the early days of computers. The library had two computers, with email (whatever that was), but we couldn’t try it out because there was no one to send to. One 8th grader came in with her Dad’s new email address. Great! So Shira typed a few words, hit “send” while a group of us looked on, amazed.
I dashed in the next morning, and there it was: a reply saying “It worked!!!” I was blown away, and then saw the original message Shira had typed: “Hi Shira, See you tomorrow, Love and kisses, Ms. Roberts”. I immediately envisioned Dad wondering who is this Ms. Roberts, and why is she sending my daughter “love and kisses”. It was a long five minutes before Shira ran in to see the reply she and Dad had sent — which assured me Dad was not busy contacting the school administration and Child Services. We decided that since it was the library’s very first email we should save it forever, but I deleted it — as soon as one of the kids showed me how.
From Liza Bertram, Carver Middle High/School School Librarian:
I have a blooper. I teach how to access and use our country and cultural digital and print resources to our 7th/8th grade “Intro to Language” classes. Last year, I was in front of a class and I decided to quickly show how to cite an image. I ended up on a painting showing nudity (something in the Louvre - I can't remember which painting). There were lots of gasps and giggles from the class but, as it was a classic painting, I just kept going. It ended up being a little bit of an art history lesson too! Now, I pick an image to show in advance!
From Patsy Divver, Millis Middle/High School Librarian:
So I was very excited about presenting at the MSLA conference! Unfortunately, I had forgotten my ‘dongle’ for my MacBook Pro, and was lucky enough to have someone in the audience that had one I could borrow. Of course, you would’ve thought I’d have remembered because the SAME thing happened to me at the NELA conference! Now I’d feel really badly except the librarian I was introducing ALSO didn’t have her connection. And if you think that’s just two ‘librarians’ doing it… I was explaining the situation to a recent author’s rep, as we were setting up for the presentation… and she didn’t have HER connection, either (this time my computer saved the day!) Goes to show you - everything looks good and then a dongle happens...